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                     L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Vol. 18, No. 251


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

CAIXA ECONOMICA: Prosecutors Ask Bank to Remove Vice Presidents
CAIXA ECONOMICA: Capital Position to Remain Weak, Moody's Says
CCB BRASIL: Moody's Confirms Ba1 LT Global LC Issuer Rating
CHINA CONSTRUCTION: Moody's Withdraws Ba3 Medium-Term Notes Rating
CHINA CONSTRUCTION: Moody's Confirms Ba1 LT LC Deposit Rating

RODOVIAS DAS COLINAS: Moody's Rates BRL880MM 4th Debt Issuance Ba3
VW DO BRASIL: Cooperated with Brazilian Dictatorship


E C U A D O R

ECUADOR: Council Confirms Political Trial Proceedings vs. Glas


P A R A G U A Y

PARAGUAY: Fitch Affirms 'BB' IDR, Revises Outlook to Positive


P U E R T O    R I C O

MAC ACQUISITION: Committee Taps Province as Financial Advisor
MAC ACQUISITION: Landlords Seek Modification of Plan Outline


V E N E Z U E L A

ROSNEFT OJSC: Venezuela Gives Gas Field Concessions


X X X X X X X X X

LATAM: Region Prioritizing Growth w/o Giving up Social Benefits


                            - - - - -


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B R A Z I L
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CAIXA ECONOMICA: Prosecutors Ask Bank to Remove Vice Presidents
---------------------------------------------------------------
Maria Carolina Marcello at Reuters reports that Brazilian
prosecutors have asked that all the vice presidents of Caixa
Economica Federal be replaced for what officials suspect are
"irregularities" at the state bank, according to a document made
public.

Federal prosecutors said Rocha Loures, a former adviser to
President Michel Temer, sought out Caixa Chief Executive Gilberto
Occhi and then Antonio Carlos Ferreira, a Caixa vice president, to
discuss the interests of Rodrimar, a company that operates
Brazil's largest port, according to Reuters.

A spokesman for Caixa Economica Federal wrote in an e-mail the
bank would "respond formally (to the prosecutors) in accordance
with the legal deadline," the report notes.

The report notes that Mr. Loures is in prison on allegations of
accepting bribes from executives at JBS SA (JBSS3.SA), the world's
largest meatpacker.  In September, Brazil's Supreme Court
authorized a different investigation into whether Temer signed a
legal decree on ports because of Rodrimar bribes, an allegation
both parties have denied, the report relays.

In the document, which prosecutors sent to the Brazilian
presidential chief of staff, they said they suspected bank vice
presidents were involved in illicit activity regarding Loures and
Rodrimar, the report notes.

In addition to replacing Caixa's 12 vice presidents, prosecutors
requested that the process for selecting high-ranking executives
at Caixa be improved and that business meetings take place on bank
property, among other measures, the report adds.


CAIXA ECONOMICA: Capital Position to Remain Weak, Moody's Says
--------------------------------------------------------------
Despite a sharp slowdown in loan growth coupled with a recovery in
profitability driven by lower funding costs and efforts to enhance
fee-income activities, Caixa Economica Federal's (Caixa, Ba2
negative, b1) capital position will remain weak, constraining the
expansion of loan book and future earnings generation, Moody's
Investors Service says in a new report.

"The sharp slowdown in Caixa's annual loan growth in the last two
years has helped the bank reduce capital consumption, but not
enough to avoid a significant decrease in capitalization since
2014," according to the report's author, Ceres Lisboa, a senior
vice president at Moody's.

Caixa's loan growth has slowed sharply as the bank focuses on
lower risk and less capital-intensive loans and more conservative
pricing. Caixa's earnings have improved in 2017 as Brazil's deep
fall in policy rates lowered the bank's funding costs while the
growth contraction helped the bank to cut more expensive funding
that supported expansion in the past. While these actions
benefited the bank's margins, they remain much lowered than peers'
due to Caixa's focus on low-yielding mortgage finance. Moreover,
once the reduction in Caixa's lending rates starts to catch up
with the drop in its funding costs, the recent gains in
profitability will start to reverse unless loan growth picks up.

As a capital injection from the government is unlikely, Caixa will
need to look for alternatives to fulfill the increasing Basel III
capital requirements by 2019. The bank is considering the
potential conversion of existing Tier 2 notes held by Brazil's
national workers' fund FGTS into Tier 1 eligible instruments, as
well as assets sales.


CCB BRASIL: Moody's Confirms Ba1 LT Global LC Issuer Rating
-----------------------------------------------------------
Moody's America Latina Ltda. (MAL) confirmed CCB Brasil
Arrendamento Mercantil SA's (CCB Brazil Leasing) long-term global
local-currency issuer rating of Ba1 and the long-term Brazilian
national scale issuer rating of Aaa.br. The outlook is changed to
negative from rating under review.

The following ratings assigned to CCB Brasil Arrendamento
Mercantil SA were confirmed:

Long-term global local-currency issuer rating of Ba1, with
negative outlook

Long-term Brazilian national scale issuer rating of Aaa.br

RATINGS RATIONALE

The confirmation of CCB Brazil Leasing's ratings is in line with
the confirmation of its parent bank's ratings, China Construction
Bank (Brasil) S.A. (CCB Brazil, Ba1 negative, b2).

The confirmation of CCB Brazil's ratings takes into account the
recent BRL1.2 billion capital injection received from its parent,
China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB, A1 stable, baa2) in
October 17, 2017, which raised CCB Brazil's tier 1 capital ratio
above the 6% minimum regulatory requirement. The new capital
position will allow CCB Brazil to absorb additional credit costs
as it continues to clean up legacy problem loans. However, the
bank's core profitability remains weak because of still modest
business volume origination and high operating expenses, and any
uptick in credit costs will lead to further losses that could hurt
capital metrics and delay the stabilization of its performance.
The negative outlook on CCB Brazil's Ba1 deposit rating reflects
the challenges associated with the implementation of the bank's
business strategy, while also focusing on improving asset quality
and achieving consistent core profits.

Moody's continues to assume a very high probability of affiliate
support from CCB to its Brazilian subsidiaries, which underpins
the Ba1 long-term local-currency issuer rating assigned to CCB
Brazil Leasing. The negative outlook on CCB Brazil Leasing's long-
term global local currency issuer rating is in line with the
outlook on CCB Brazil's long-term global local currency deposit
rating.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING -- DOWN/UP

The issuer ratings of CCB Brazil Leasing could be upgraded if CCB
Brazil's global local currency deposit rating moves up. An upgrade
of the bank's ratings would happen if the bank reports consistent
material improvement of profitability and asset quality metrics.
Moreover, the bank would need to maintain good capital buffers
over authorities' minimum required levels. An upward move in CCB
Brazil's standalone BCA could also result in an upgrade of the
bank's global local currency rating.

Conversely, CCB Brazil Leasing's issuer ratings could be
downgraded if CCB Brazil's global local currency rating moves
down. Negative pressure on the bank's deposit rating could arise
if CCB Brazil continues to report large credit costs and
consistent net losses, therefore, consuming the capital injected
at the bank. The downgrade of CCB Brazil's standalone BCA would
result in a downgrade of the bank's global local currency deposit.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks
published in September 2017.


CHINA CONSTRUCTION: Moody's Withdraws Ba3 Medium-Term Notes Rating
------------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service has withdrawn the ratings on the China
Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A., Cayman's USD100 million Global
MTNs due 2010 and USD50 million Euro MTNs due 2010. Due to an
internal administrative error, the ratings on these MTNs were not
withdrawn on their stated maturity dates.

The corrected rating history for the Global MTNs is:

April 04, 2008 -- Ba3 new rating assigned

April 30, 2010 - rating withdrawn

The corrected rating history for the Euro MTNs is:

May 14, 2008 -- Ba3 new rating assigned

April 30, 2010 - rating withdrawn


CHINA CONSTRUCTION: Moody's Confirms Ba1 LT LC Deposit Rating
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service confirmed China Construction Bank
(Brasil) S.A.'s (CCB Brazil) long-term global local and foreign
currency deposit ratings of Ba1 and Ba3 as well as the Brazilian
national scale deposit ratings of Aaa.br and BR-1, long- and
short-term respectively. Moody's also confirmed CCB Brazil's
senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)Ba1 and subordinated
debt rating of Ba2. The baseline credit assessment (BCA) of b2 and
adjusted BCA of ba1, as well as counterparty risk assessments
(CRA) of Baa3(cr) and Prime-3(cr), long- and short-term
respectively, were also confirmed. The bank's other ratings were
not affected by this action. The outlook is changed to negative(m)
from rating under review.

At the same time, Moody's confirmed China Construction Bank
(Brasil) S.A., Cayman's long-term MTN program rating of (P)Ba1 and
CRAs of Baa3(cr) and Prime-3(cr), long- and short-term
respectively.

The following ratings and assessments assigned to China
Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A. were confirmed:

Long-term global local-currency deposit rating of Ba1, with
negative outlook

Long-term global foreign-currency deposit rating of Ba3, with
stable outlook

Long-term senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)Ba1

Long-term subordinated debt rating of Ba2

Long-term Brazilian national scale deposit rating of Aaa.br

Short-term Brazilian national scale deposit rating of BR-1

Baseline credit assessment of b2

Adjusted baseline credit assessment of ba1

Long-term counterparty risk assessment of Baa3(cr)

Short-term counterparty risk assessment of Prime-3(cr)

Outlook Actions:

Issuer: China Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A.

Outlook, Changed To Negative(m) From Rating Under Review

The following ratings and assessments assigned to China
Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A. were not affected:

Short-term global local-currency deposit rating of Not Prime

Short-term global foreign-currency deposit rating of Not Prime

The following ratings and assessments assigned to China
Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A., Cayman were confirmed:

Long-term senior unsecured MTN program rating of (P)Ba1

Long-term counterparty risk assessment of Baa3(cr)

Short-term counterparty risk assessment of Prime-3(cr)

RATINGS RATIONALE

The confirmation of CCB Brazil's ratings takes into account the
recent BRL1.2 billion capital injection received from its parent,
China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB, A1 stable, baa2) in
October 17, 2017, which raised CCB Brazil's tier 1 capital ratio
above the 6% minimum regulatory requirement. The new capital
position will allow CCB Brazil to absorb additional credit costs
as it continues to clean up legacy problem loans. However, the
bank's core profitability remains weak because of still modest
business volume origination and high operating expenses, and any
uptick in credit costs will lead to further losses that could hurt
capital metrics and delay the stabilization of its performance.

Moody's acknowledges management's efforts to turnaround CCB
Brazil's operations, which include problem loan charge offs and
loan sales in the past couple of years. These actions have led to
a lower problem loan ratio of 2.87% in June 2017, from 4.14% one
year prior. Moreover, the strategic shift in the bank's loan book,
which is increasingly focused on less risky payroll loans and on
large corporates, away from risky lending to small and mid-sized
companies, has supported the gradual decline observed in new
problem loan formation. If sustained, this shift could signal a
positive trend for credit costs in 2018.

The confirmation of CCB Brazil's ratings and assessments reflects
the ratings agency's view that the bank's financial performance
will begin to stabilize in 2018. The negative outlook reflects the
challenges associated with the implementation of the bank's
business strategy, while also focusing on improving asset quality
and achieving consistent core profits. At the same time, high loan
loss provisions and operating expenses continue to hurt the bank's
bottom line result, particularly as the domestic economy reports
only an incipient recovery. The bank's financial performance in
2017 will very likely remain weak, as evidenced by sizable mid-
year 2017 net losses of BRL564.4 million, which are however lower
than one year prior.

Management is also working on repositioning the bank's franchise,
and has already reduced the branch network to one quarter of its
size in 2015. In regards to funding and liquidity, CCB Brazil
benefits from sizable funding lines from its parent, which
alleviates funding costs. As of June 2017, liquid banking assets
accounted for 33.5% of CCB Brazil's tangible banking assets.

Moody's notes that a potential positive move in CCB Brazil's
standalone BCA would not depend entirely on a larger capital
position, but also on the bank's ability to maintain strong
capital buffers through consistent origination of recurring
earnings and adequate asset quality metrics.

Moody's continues to assume a very high probability of affiliate
support from CCB to its Brazilian subsidiary, resulting in a four-
notch uplift to the Ba1 long-term local-currency deposit rating,
from the bank's b2 standalone BCA. The negative outlook on CCB
Brazil's Ba1 deposit rating also reflects its likely downgrade if
the bank's standalone BCA of b2 moves down, even with a very high
affiliate support.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING -- DOWN/UP

The standalone BCA of CCB Brazil could be upgraded if the bank
reports consistent material improvement of profitability and asset
quality metrics. Moreover, the bank would need to maintain good
capital buffers over authorities' minimum required levels. An
upward move in CCB Brazil's standalone BCA could also result in an
upgrade of its global local currency rating.

Conversely, CCB Brazil's standalone BCA could be downgraded if the
bank continues to report large credit costs and consistent net
losses, therefore, consuming the capital injected at the bank. The
downgrade of CCB Brazil's standalone BCA would result in a
downgrade of the bank's global local currency deposit.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks
published in September 2017.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as
relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and
issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better
differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global
scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with
the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs
for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country.
NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the
relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. While NSRs have no
inherent absolute meaning in terms of default risk or expected
loss, a historical probability of default consistent with a given
NSR can be inferred from the GSR to which it maps back at that
particular point in time. For information on the historical
default rates associated with different global scale rating
categories over different investment horizons.

China Construction Bank (Brasil) S.A. is headquartered in Sao
Paulo, Brazil, with assets of BRL24.1 billion and shareholders'
equity of BRL741 million as of June 30, 2017.


RODOVIAS DAS COLINAS: Moody's Rates BRL880MM 4th Debt Issuance Ba3
------------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's America Latina assigned ratings of Ba3 (Global Scale)
A3.br (Brazil National Scale, NSR) to Rodovias das Colinas S.A.
fourth debenture issuance and to Triangulo do Sol Auto-Estradas
S.A. ("TDS") second debenture issuance, currently with BRL 880
million and BRL 535 million outstanding amounts as of September
2017, respectively. The outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Colinas and TDS are two operating companies of AB Concessoes, one
of the five largest toll road operators in Brazil. In addition to
Colinas and TDS, the company also controls Concession†ria da
Rodovia MG-050 S.A. ("Nascentes das Gerais", not rated) and has a
participation in Concessionaria Rodovias do Tietà S.A. (Caa2
negative). AB Concessoes' shareholders are Atlantia S.p.A. (Baa2
negative), with a controlling stake of 50% + 1 shares, while
Bertin Group (not rated) holds the remaining participation.
Colinas and TDS are the two main toll road concessionaires of the
AB Concessoes group, responding for around 90% of the consolidated
revenues. They are mature toll roads located in the State of Sao
Paulo (Ba2 negative), with concession contracts expiring in 2028
and 2021, respectively.

Colinas fourth debenture was issued in 2013 totalling BRL 950
million, with three series maturing until April 2023, while TDS
second debenture issuance reached BRL 691 million and is due in
April 2020, with two different series. Both issuances have
financial covenants of Net Debt to EBITDA below 3.5x and debt
service coverage ratio (DSCR) equal or above 1.2x, measured on
semi-annual basis. The latest report (LTM June 2017) recorded a
Net Debt to EBITDA of 2.7x for Colinas and 1.9x for TDS at the
same time the DSCR was 1.5x and 2.0x respectively.

AB Concessoes operates through an overall centralized cash
management structure with some cross default provisions across the
group. The credit quality of Colinas and TDS is somewhat
constrained by the significant cash needs of the parent company as
they up-stream dividends and intercompany loans to fund the parent
investment activity. Consequently, Colinas and TDS ratings are
aligned with the group's overall credit quality which reflects
some key risks among others (i) potential for additional cash
transfers within the group from Nascentes das Gerais financial
needs (ii) traffic rebound slower or below expectation of upwards
3% up to 2018 (iii) capex cost overruns (iv) significant debt
refinancing in the five year projected period (v) judicial dispute
with ARTESP regarding the 2006 contract extension granted to
Colinas and TDS. The ratings don't consider the group will execute
the option to incorporate Concession†ria SPMAR S.A. in the current
asset base or will be involved in M&A activity that could further
pressure leverage and Moody's projected investment needs.

The ultimate shareholders have shown support to the
concessionaires where they hold controlling stakes and Moody's
understand they will continue to actively support the group's
credit quality and liquidity in case of need. Moody's also expects
the group will maintain its sound access to the banking and
capital markets and will prudently manage its leverage and
liquidity.

The ratings also reflects Colinas and TDS overall stable and
strong cash flows as they are mature toll roads with relative low
capex needs and leverage. The concessionaires have a long track
record of traffic performance, serving areas that are economically
diversified but with more exposure to agribusiness. The ratings
also take into account the adequate balancing of the significant
intercompany loan the parent owns to Colinas and TDS versus their
dividends policy such they can meet their upcoming obligations.

On the other hand, the ratings of the operating companies are
tempered by (i) traffic profile concentrated on heavy vehicles
(around 51% for Colinas and 64% for TDS), which are more volatile
and highly correlated with GDP performance and Brazil's sovereign
rating; (ii) relatively short remaining concession life of TDS
which responds for almost half of the group's revenues (iii) still
significant amount of intercompany loans to be received from AB
Concessoes and track record of high dividend distributions.

Brazil's sovereign rating is also a relevant consideration for the
ratings given the domestic nature of the company's operation, and
consequently its linkages to the local economic/regulatory
environment and ultimate credit quality.

What Could Change the Rating - Up /Down

Traffic performance above Moody's expectations on sustainable
basis could cause upward pressure to the ratings as would a lower
potential contagion risk of the group's credit quality arising
from Nascentes das Gerais investment and refinancing needs or
stronger debt profile . Stronger financial policy and ring-fencing
provisions among Colinas and TDS standalone credit quality
relative to the group's could also positively impact the ratings
of the operating companies.

Given the intrinsic linkages of the group with the Brazilian
sovereign, deterioration in the sovereign's credit quality could
exert downward pressure on the group's ratings as well as Moody's
assessment of weaker shareholders support. The ratings could also
be downgraded if there is a significant and sustained
deterioration in the companies' leverage and liquidity or any
challenges in addressing the group's upcoming refinancing needs.

Downward pressure could also arise if there are material delays or
costs overruns on the parent's capital investment program as well
as if traffic volumes stay consistently below Moody's forecast.
Potential contagion risk from Nascentes das Gerais weaker credit
profile could also affect the ratings. Quantitatively, the ratings
could be downgraded if FFO to Debt stays below 8%, cash interest
coverage below 1.5x and retained cash flow over capex below 1x on
a sustainable basis. A negative outcome of the ongoing judicial
dispute with ARTESP could also weigh on the ratings.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Privately
Managed Toll Roads published in October 2017.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as
relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and
issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better
differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global
scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with
the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs
for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country.
NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the
relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. While NSRs have no
inherent absolute meaning in terms of default risk or expected
loss, a historical probability of default consistent with a given
NSR can be inferred from the GSR to which it maps back at that
particular point in time. For information on the historical
default rates associated with different global scale rating
categories over different investment horizons.


VW DO BRASIL: Cooperated with Brazilian Dictatorship
----------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the Brazilian unit of Volkswagen "exhibited
unreserved loyalty towards the military government" that ruled the
South American country between 1964 and 1985, according to a
report commissioned by the German automaker.

VW do Brasil shared the "economic and domestic policy goals" of
the junta, University of Bielefeld historian Christopher Kopper
concluded, according to EFE News.

The report notes that Mr. Kopper was present for the presentation
of the report at VW do Brasil's complex in the Sao Bernardo do
Campo, near Sao Paulo, along with VW's vice president for South
America and Brazil, Pablo Di Si, who said that the company fully
accepted the findings.

"We have nothing to hide.  We went to the (Brazilian) Attorney
General's Office and delivered the report in an honest and
transparent way," he said, adding that he "deeply regretted" the
events recounted in the paper, the report relays.

In preparing the document, "VW do Brasil in the Brazilian Military
Dictatorship 1964-1985," the historian was given unfettered access
to files of the subsidiary and at VW world headquarters in
Wolfsburg, Germany, the report notes.

VW do Brasil played no role in the overthrow of the democratic
government, but the company "adjudged the military coup of 1964
and the establishment of an increasingly repressive military
dictatorship to be an unambiguously positive development," Mr.
Kopper wrote, the report discloses.

And while the management board in Wolfsburg "was aware of the
political and social repression in the military dictatorship
thanks to the credible reporting on it by German media, it
accepted and trivialized the situation as being inevitable, based
on a colonialist perspective," the historian found, the report
says.

In terms of active collaboration with the junta, Kopper said that
VW do Brasil's security department, under the direction of
Brazilian army veteran Ademar Rudge, worker with the regime's
DEOPS secret police from 1969-1979, the report relays.

The professor said he did not find evidence to support the
suspicions of the Brazilian truth commission that VW do Brasil
aided in the creation of a torture center, the report adds.


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E C U A D O R
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ECUADOR: Council Confirms Political Trial Proceedings vs. Glas
--------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Ecuador's Legislative Administrative Council
(CAL) confirmed legal proceedings against Vice President Jorge
Glas, who has been divested of his official duties and sentenced
to six years in prison for alleged illicit association in the
Odebrecht corruption case.

After complying with "due process" and the appropriate legal and
constitutional deadlines, the CAL acknowledged that Glas'
political trial had been sent to the Constitutional Court,
according to the head of the National Assembly, Jose Serrano,
reports EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Oct.
23, 2017, S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'B-' issue rating on the
Republic of Ecuador's senior unsecured notes for a total amount of
US$2.5 billion. The notes are due in October 2027 and have a
coupon of 8.875%. The rating on the notes is the same as the long-
term foreign currency sovereign credit rating on Ecuador.


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P A R A G U A Y
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PARAGUAY: Fitch Affirms 'BB' IDR, Revises Outlook to Positive
-------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Paraguay's Long-Term Foreign and Local-
Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'BB'. The Rating
Outlooks have been revised to Positive from Stable.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

The Positive Outlook on Paraguay's ratings reflects the
sovereign's demonstrated resilience to external shocks, favourable
growth performance combined with evidence of economic
diversification, strengthening external buffers, and continued
commitment to macroeconomic policy discipline. Low fiscal deficits
should keep general government debt around 20% of GDP, the lowest
in the 'BB' category.

Fitch forecasts Paraguay's economic growth at 4% in 2017, similar
to growth in 2016. Fitch expects the growth rate to accelerate
marginally in 2018-19 due to a pick-up in domestic demand and
exports to Brazil, as its neighbour's economic recovery broadens.

Paraguay's economy has shown resilience to numerous external
shocks over the last three years, including a sharp fall in
commodity prices - especially soya and beef - as well as
recessions in its two principle trading partners, Brazil and
Argentina. Paraguay's volatile real GDP growth over the last
decade reflects the sensitivity of the agricultural and
hydroelectric sectors to the weather patterns; however, this has
not translated into volatility in other key economic variables
such as inflation, employment, and fiscal performance. The
agricultural sector is not heavily taxed and therefore fiscal
revenues are not impacted strongly by swings in the sector.

In addition, there are signs of economic diversification both in
terms of higher value-added agricultural production (eg such as
soybean oil processing) as well as new sectors such "maquila"
manufacturing tied to the Brazilian market in such areas as
automobile parts and textiles. The continued development of these
sectors could support strong and more stable real GDP growth over
time.

Inflation is expected to average 3.6% in 2017, down from 4.1% in
2016. Fitch expects the inflation rate will average 4% over the
next two years, at centre of the central bank's 4+/-2% target (the
target was reduced to 4% from 4.5% in 2017). The central bank's
monetary policy credibility has increased since the introduction
of its inflation targeting regime in 2011, as reflected in its
success in meeting its targets and anchoring inflation
expectations.

External vulnerabilities continue to reduce as both external
liquidity and external debt metrics improve. International reserve
coverage, at 7 months of current external payments (CXP), has
risen over the last five years, helping mitigate risks related to
commodity dependence and high financial dollarization. Total net
external debt fell to 21.5% of CXR in 2017, down from over 100% in
2008. A large part of the external debt is related to the Itaipu
and Yacyreta dams (jointly owned by Paraguay and Brazil and
Argentina respectively). Debt related to the Itaipu dam has been
amortizing yearly and expected to be fully paid off by 2022.

Fitch expects the central government to meet its 1.5% of GDP
deficit target in 2017 as stipulated in the Fiscal Responsibility
Law (FRL), demonstrating continued commitment to fiscal discipline
and macroeconomic stability. In late 2016, the government vetoed
the 2017 budget passed by Congress because of spending increases
that threatened the deficit limit.

The 2018 budget approved by Congress threatens to breach the 1.5%
of GDP upper limit of the law, reflecting continued difficulties
in developing the FRL as an institutional anchor for fiscal
policy. Nevertheless, Fitch expects the Ministry of Finance to
meet the deficit target through a veto or partial veto of the 2018
budget, or through under-execution in other areas of the budget
such as capital expenditure.

Fitch does not expect significant changes to the macroeconomic and
fiscal policy framework to result from Paraguay's 2018
presidential and congressional elections. Over the medium term,
Fitch believes the government will continue to adhere to its
commitment to fiscal discipline, even if proposed changes to the
FRL are enacted that could allow for greater scope for counter-
cyclical policy or capital investment. Furthermore, Paraguay's
government could see a fiscal windfall in 2022 due to the cash
flow that will be freed up when Itaipu pays off its debt, although
the terms of an agreement need to be negotiated with Brazil after
2018 elections in both countries.

Paraguay's general government debt to GDP ratio has stabilized at
around 20%, far below the the 'BB' median of 48% and the lowest in
the 'BB' category. Fitch expects debt to remain at close to 20% of
GDP through 2019. However, nearly 78% of Paraguay's debt is
external, exposing the debt ratio to foreign exchange rate
volatility (the depreciation of the guarani in 2014-15 was one of
the key factors in the rise in the general government debt level
over the last three years). Over 10 percent of government revenues
(2.4% of GDP) are denominated in USD from the hydroelectric dams,
partially mitigating the foreign exchange rate risk.

Structural factors remain Paraguay's key rating constraints,
reflected in governance indicators and GDP per capita that are
well below the 'BB' medians, although both factors have been on a
gradually improving trend. Paraguay's rankings in the World Bank's
governance indicators have seen an improvement in recent years,
specifically in the areas of political stability and control of
corruption.

SOVEREIGN RATING MODEL (SRM) and QUALITATIVE OVERLAY (QO)

Fitch's proprietary SRM assigns Paraguay a score equivalent to a
rating of 'BB-' on the Long-Term Foreign-Currency (LT FC) IDR
scale.

Fitch's sovereign rating committee adjusted the output from the
SRM to arrive at the final LT FC IDR by applying its QO, relative
to rated peers:

-- Macroeconomic: +1 notch, to reflect Paraguay's long track
record of prudent, credible and consistent economic policies,
which has contained macroeconomic imbalances despite volatile GDP
growth.

Fitch's SRM is the agency's proprietary multiple regression rating
model that employs 18 variables based on three-year centred
averages, including one year of forecasts, to produce a score
equivalent to a LT FC IDR. Fitch's QO is a forward-looking
qualitative framework designed to allow for adjustment to the SRM
output to assign the final rating, reflecting factors within Fitch
criteria that are not fully quantifiable and/or not fully
reflected in the SRM.


RATING SENSITIVITIES
The main factors that could individually or collectively lead to
an upgrade include:
-- Preservation of prudent macro policies and a strong, less
volatile growth trajectory relative to peers;
-- Continued strengthening of external buffers;
-- Further improvements in governance indicators.

The Rating Outlook is Positive. Consequently, Fitch's sensitivity
analysis does not currently anticipate developments with a high
likelihood of leading to a negative rating change.

However, the main factors that could individually or collectively
lead to the Outlook being revised to Stable include:
-- An economic shock (eg term-of-trade or weather-related) that
negatively impacts the country's economic prospects and external
accounts;
-- A sustained fiscal deterioration and/or emergence of financing
constraints.

KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Fitch assumes that the Brazilian economy will grow modestly by
2.5% in 2018, recovering from a deep recession in 2015-16 and
modest growth of 1.0% in 2017. Argentina is expected to grow by
3.4% in 2018, after growing by 2.8% in 2017.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings and revised the Outlooks
to Positive from Stable:

-- Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR at 'BB'; Outlook to Positive;
-- Long-Term Local-Currency IDR affirmed at 'BB'; Outlook to
    Positive;
-- Short-Term Foreign-Currency IDR at 'B';
-- Short-Term Local-Currency IDR at 'B';
-- Country Ceiling at 'BB+';
-- Issue ratings on long-term senior unsecured foreign-currency
    bonds at 'BB';


======================
P U E R T O    R I C O
======================


MAC ACQUISITION: Committee Taps Province as Financial Advisor
-------------------------------------------------------------
The official committee of unsecured creditors of Mac Acquisition
LLC seeks approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District
of Delaware to hire Province, Inc. as its financial advisor.

The firm will assist the committee in reviewing the financial
reports of Mac Acquisition and its affiliates; monitor the sale
process; advise the committee in its negotiations with the
Debtors; assist in the preparation of its own bankruptcy plan; and
provide other legal services related to the Debtors' Chapter 11
cases.

The firm's hourly rates are:

     Principal             $690 - $745
     Managing Director     $580 - $630
     Senior Director       $540 - $570
     Director              $470 - $530
     Sr. Associate         $375 - $460
     Associate             $340 - $390
     Analyst               $270 - $330
     Paraprofessional             $150

Paul Huygens, principal of Province, disclosed in a court filing
that he and his firm do not have any connection with the Debtors
or any of their creditors.

The firm can be reached through:

     Paul Huygens
     Province, Inc.
     2360 Corporate Circle, Suite 330
     Henderson, NV 89074
     Phone: 702-685-5555

                      About Mac Acquisition LLC

Mac Acquisition LLC, et al. -- https://www.macaronigrill.com/ --
operate full-service casual dining restaurants under the trade
name, "Romano's Macaroni Grill."  As of Oct. 18, 2017, the company
operates 93 company-owned restaurants located in 23 states, with a
workforce of approximately 4,600 employees. Non-debtor affiliate
RMG Development franchises an additional 23 restaurants in
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bahrain,
Egypt, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Germany, and Saudi
Arabia.

During 2016, Mac Acquisition and RMG generated gross revenues
through restaurant sales and franchisee payments of approximately
$230 million.

On Oct. 18, 2017, Mac Acquisition LLC, and eight affiliates sought
Chapter 11 protection (Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case No. 17-12224).
Mac Acquisition's estimated assets of $10 million to $50 million
and debt at $50 million to $100 million.

The Hon. Mary F. Walrath is the case judge.

The Debtors tapped Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, as
Delaware bankruptcy counsel; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as
general bankruptcy counsel; Mackinac Partners, LLC, as financial
advisor; and Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC as financial advisor
and investment banker.  Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc., is the
claims agent.

On October 30, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trustee appointed an
official committee of unsecured creditors.  The committee hired
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP as its lead counsel, and Bayard, P.A. as
co-counsel with Kelley Drye.


MAC ACQUISITION: Landlords Seek Modification of Plan Outline
------------------------------------------------------------
Brixmor Property Group, Inc., PGIM Real Estate, and Starwood
Retail Partners LLC filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Delaware a limited objection to Mac Acquisition LLC
and affiliates' disclosure statement for their proposed joint plan
of reorganization.

The objecting Landlords are the owners or agents for the owners of
certain shopping centers at which the Debtors operate retail
stores pursuant to written unexpired nonresidential real property
leases.

The Landlords do not object to the Debtors' efforts to confirm a
plan of reorganization, but as drafted, the Disclosure Statement,
Plan and Proposed Order fail to provide adequate information for
the Landlords or other creditors to make an informed decision with
respect to the Plan and the treatment of the Leases under the
Plan, and the Plan itself improperly seeks to modify the
Landlords' rights under their Leases and the Bankruptcy Code.

The Disclosure Statement and Plan rely, in part, on a Plan
Supplement including schedules of assumed Leases that need not be
filed until shortly before the Confirmation Hearing, and there are
a number of discrepancies among the documents with respect to the
confirmation timeline. The Landlords understand that the
adjournment of the Disclosure Statement Hearing has led to
adjustments to the confirmation timeline, and until such time as a
revised timeline has been circulated, it is unclear if the
Landlords' objections to the timeline will have been resolved.
However, the Debtors have represented that the revised Proposed
Order will provide for Cure Notices to be provided to Landlords no
less than 10 business days prior to any deadline to raise
objections to either cure, confirmation or assumption, and any
applicable voting deadline.

The Debtors should pay all undisputed cure amounts for assumed
Leases on the Effective Date of the Plan along with other
administrative claims. Section 365(b)(1)(A) requires that the
Debtors promptly cure outstanding balances due under the Leases
upon assumption. To the extent there is a dispute over the total
cure obligation for any Lease, all undisputed cure amounts should
be paid immediately. Debtors should escrow disputed amounts, and
the Court should set a status conference within thirty (30) days
of the assumption or assumption and assignment of the Leases to
deal with any disputes that remain unresolved after such period.

In addition, the releases, waivers and injunction provisions
referenced in the Disclosure Statement and Plan are overbroad and
require revision. The language does not adequately address the
fact that various claims and rights under the Leases must survive
confirmation of the Plan for the continuing obligations that exist
under the Leases.

Based on these, the Landlords request that the Court not approve
the Disclosure Statement unless and until the Debtors provide
adequate information as required by Section 1125, amend the
Disclosure Statement and Plan so that the Disclosure Statement
describes a Plan that is confirmable, including the modifications
requested, and grant such further relief as the Court deems
proper.

A full-text copy of the Landlords' Objection is available at:

     http://bankrupt.com/misc/deb17-12224-270.pdf

The Troubled Company Reporter previously reported that the Debtor
will get an additional $8.5MM in financing. The treatment of
creditors and distribution of assets under the Plan contemplates a
comprehensive agreement under which the Debtors and the other
parties to the Restructuring Support Agreement have consensually
resolved or agreed not to pursue claims, objections, litigation,
or other disputes that otherwise likely would arise and be
required to be resolved in the Chapter 11 cases, including, among
other things and solely by way of example, potential disputes
related to the amount, validity and scope of secured claims and
their attendant liens, the potential avoidance of liens and
security interests, the funding of administrative expenses in the
Chapter 11 cases, funds (if any) available to pay unsecured
claims, and the valuation of the Debtors and their assets.

Attorneys for Brixmor Property Group, Inc., PGIM Real Estate, and
Starwood Retail Partners LLC:

     Leslie C. Heilman, Esquire (No. 4716)
     Laurel D. Roglen, Esquire (No. 5759)
     BALLARD SPAHR LLP
     919 N. Market Street, 11th Floor
     Wilmington, DE 19801
     Telephone: (302) 252-4465
     Facsimile: (302) 252-4466
     E-mail: heilmanl@ballardspahr.com
     roglenl@ballardspahr.com

          -and-

     P. Branch, Esquire
     BALLARD SPAHR LLP
     2029 Century Park East, Suite 800
     Los Angeles, CA 90067-3012
     Telephone: (424) 204-4354
     Facsimile: (424) 204-4350
     E-mail: branchd@ballardspahr.com

          -and-

     David L. Pollack, Esquire
     BALLARD SPAHR LLP
     51st Fl - Mellon Bank Center
     1735 Market Street
     Philadelphia, PA 19103
     Telephone: (215) 864-8325
     Facsimile: (215) 864-9473
     E-mail: pollack@ballardspahr.com

                 About Mac Acquisition LLC

Mac Acquisition LLC, et al. -- https://www.macaronigrill.com/ --
operate full-service casual dining restaurants under the trade
name, "Romano's Macaroni Grill."  As of Oct. 18, 2017, the company
operates 93 company-owned restaurants located in 23 states, with a
workforce of approximately 4,600 employees. Non-debtor affiliate
RMG Development franchises an additional 23 restaurants in
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bahrain,
Egypt, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Germany, and Saudi
Arabia.

During 2016, Mac Acquisition and RMG generated gross revenues
through restaurant sales and franchisee payments of approximately
$230 million.

On Oct. 18, 2017, Mac Acquisition LLC, and eight affiliates sought
Chapter 11 protection (Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case No. 17-12224).
Mac Acquisition's estimated assets of $10 million to $50 million
and debt at $50 million to $100 million.

The Hon. Mary F. Walrath is the case judge.

The Debtors tapped Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, as
Delaware bankruptcy counsel; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as
general bankruptcy counsel; Mackinac Partners, LLC, and financial
advisor.  Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc., is the claims agent.


=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================


ROSNEFT OJSC: Venezuela Gives Gas Field Concessions
---------------------------------------------------
Reuters reports that Venezuela has awarded licenses to a unit of
Russian oil major Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields,
Rosneft said in a statement.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed the deal during a visit
to Venezuela by Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin, it
said, according to Reuters.

During the visit, Mr. Sechin also discussed Rosneft's cooperation
with Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA, the statement said,
the report notes.

Under the agreement, which is valid for 30 years, wholly-owned
Rosneft unit Grupo Rosneft will become the operator of the Patao
and Mejillones offshore gas fields, Rosneft said, the report
relays.

Rosneft will have the right to sell all of the fields' production
for export, including in the form of liquefied natural gas, the
Rosneft statement said, the report says.

It said total estimated reserves at the two fields are 180 billion
cubic meters (bcm) of gas, and that maximum annual production
would be 6.5 bcm, the report relates.

Venezuela's unraveling socialist government is increasingly
turning to ally Russia for the cash and credit it needs to
survive, the report relays.

PDVSA has debts to state-owned Rosneft of $6 billion, the Russian
company estimated in August, the report discloses.

Last month, Russia's finance ministry agreed to a restructuring of
Venezuela's debt to Moscow, not including PDVSA's debts to
Rosneft, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Dec 8, 2017, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB+' long-term
corporate credit rating on Russian oil major, Oil Company Rosneft
OJSC. The outlook is positive.


=================
X X X X X X X X X
=================


LATAM: Region Prioritizing Growth w/o Giving up Social Benefits
---------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the executive secretary of the Economic
Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said the
conservative shift in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and
Paraguay has prioritized economic growth without giving up social
progress.

"I think the social movements have made some changes that are
irreversible. In our region, even with a change of its political
ideology, society seems to have announced loud and clear that some
policies are here to stay," Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena
said in an interview with EFE.

Barcena believes that matters like pensions, education, the social
safety net and gender equality are part of the political agenda of
the region, whatever its ideological tendency, says the report.

During the last decade in Latin America, recounts EFE News, left-
leaning progressive governments prevailed that benefited from the
revenues from a strong raw materials market to apply socially
favorable policies.

In recent years, countries like Brazil, Argentina, Peru and
Paraguay have taken a turn to the right, placing greater emphasis
on growing the economy, EFE relates.

According to the ECLAC executive, the trend has favored the
economic recovery of the region but could have negative social
consequences, such as increasing poverty, and questioned what to
do "so that growth and equality are not at odds with each other,"
the report notes.

EFE says ECLAC presented in Santiago its Preliminary Balance of
the Regional Economy, which forecasts that the region will come
out of the recession of the past two years and will grow 1.3
percent in 2017 and by some 2.2 percent next year.

According to EFE, Barcena said the conditions that will make it
possible to speak of an "expansion cycle" in Latin America are one
the table, though some measures must be taken to keep the boom
from collapsing.  Exports and investment are the factors driving
growth, Barcena said, but Latin America also needs a favorable
international context, which seems to be altogether probable.
The chief threat to expansion is trade, which continues to grow -
3.6 percent this year and an estimated 3.2 percent in 2018 - but
slower than required, she said.

Mexico has an additional risk factor: the economic policies of US
President Donald Trump, whose proposed corporate tax reform could
draw American companies away from Mexico and back to the US, the
report relates.

Meanwhile, the Latin American country that comes out worst in
ECLAC's forecast is Venezuela, with an estimated 9.5 percent
recession this year and 5.5 percent in 2018, add the report.

Alicia Barcena believes Venezuela must take urgent steps to adjust
its rate of exchange and control inflation, EFE says.



                            ***********


Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
prices for bond issues that reportedly trade well below par.
Prices are obtained by TCR-LA editors from a variety of outside
sources during the prior week we think are reliable.   Those
sources may not, however, be complete or accurate.  The Monday
Bond Pricing table is compiled on the Friday prior to publication.
Prices reported are not intended to reflect actual trades.  Prices
for actual trades are probably different.  Our objective is to
share information, not make markets in publicly traded securities.
Nothing in the TCR-LA constitutes an offer or solicitation to buy
or sell any security of any kind.  It is likely that some entity
affiliated with a TCR-LA editor holds some position in the
issuers' public debt and equity securities about which we report.

Tuesday's edition of the TCR-LA features a list of companies with
insolvent balance sheets obtained by our editors based on the
latest balance sheets publicly available a day prior to
publication.  At first glance, this list may look like the
definitive compilation of stocks that are ideal to sell short.
Don't be fooled.  Assets, for example, reported at historical cost
net of depreciation may understate the true value of a firm's
assets.  A company may establish reserves on its balance sheet for
liabilities that may never materialize.  The prices at which
equity securities trade in public market are determined by more
than a balance sheet solvency test.

Submissions about insolvency-related conferences are encouraged.
Send announcements to conferences@bankrupt.com


                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.,
USA, Marites O. Claro, Joy A. Agravante, Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Julie Anne L. Toledo, Ivy B. Magdadaro, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2017.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is US$775 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members
of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
balance thereof are US$25 each.  For subscription information,
contact Peter A. Chapman at 215-945-7000 or Joseph Cardillo at
856-381-8268.


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